Last night Michael Kantor unveiled his program for Season 2 2010, his final season as Artistic Director of Malthouse Theatre, before handing over to Marion Potts in 2011.

In introducing his final season Michael, Michael has said the following:

On profound seas of the intimate and personal, on tumultuous oceans of the profane and sublime, our theatre unleashes its alchemical spell, a starlit world of imagination, hope and humanity. Each of the productions that make up Season 2 2010 are heaped full of such magic dust, portals through which new and re-discovered shores can be glimpsed.

But while we exalt in spaces of fantasy, Malthouse Theatre is determined to look bravely into the real. Something that was unknown has become frighteningly known. There is now no doubt that the consequence of humanity’s drunken pillage of natural resources has placed our planet, our own homes, and the home of all living things, in deep peril. Through the TippingPoint conference and our commissioned work for students Happiness, we want to find out what artists can do…to respond to the climate disaster and its emotional fallout, and to do this with hope.

After six years as Artistic Director, I sincerely thank you for your support and for coming on the ride with me. And of course the remarkable artists – our performers, our writers, our sound and visual designers, our directors. And my extraordinary colleagues who are Malthouse Theatre. Theatre is the most collaborative of activities, and collaborating with such a talented and dedicated bunch in making and presenting theatre – theatre that I hope has dazzled, confounded, amazed and occasionally appalled - has been a rare treat!

Season 2 2010 features nine shows, including four world premiers of new Australian works, and four new Malthouse Theatre commissions. We are celebrating 20 years at our home at the CUB Malthouse, and proud to note that for Season One 2010, Malthouse Theatre saw a 30% increase in subscriptions numbers from our previous highest subscription take up (which was Season One 2008).

In January 2010, the international tour of Optimism made its final stop at the Sydney Opera House during the Sydney Festival, in a co-presentation with the Sydney Theatre Company. Owing to demand, additional performances were announced, and the seven week season played to well over 20,000 patrons. The season of Ursula Martinez’s My Stories Your Emails, playing the Beckett Theatre, also had an extended season during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Elsewhere, three productions commissioned and premiered in 2009 will enjoy life beyond Melbourne. Peter Houghton’s, A Commercial Farce, will perform in 14 venues across the country with support from Playing Australia; and Company in Residence, My Darling Patricia, will tour Africa nationally as part of the Mobile States initiative. This comprehensive tour will also include a return Melbourne season hosted by Arts House in North Melbourne. After their hugely popular Adelaide and Melbourne debut, the Chooky Dancers (and friends) will perform Ngurrumilmarrmiriyu (Wrong Skin) at the Sydney Opera House and Darwin Festival. Wrong Skin was commissioned through Malthouse Theatre’s Indigenous Theatre Program.

From Season 2 2010, under our touring moniker Malthouse Melbourne, Matthew Lutton and Louise Fox’s production of The Trial will transfer to Sydney and Perth with our co-commissioning partners Sydney Theatre Company and ThinIce, while Lucy Guerin’s Human Interest Story will be presented by the 2011 Perth International Arts Festival. With support from the British Council, the Malthouse Melbourne co-commission of 1927’s new work, The Animals and Children Took To The Streets, will be presented by the Sydney Opera House as part of their Adventures program.